by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Alicia Thew Talks Yoga, Body Image & Wellness

Yoga Movement founder Alicia Pan tells BEAUBIT how she got into yoga, her fitness regime and how she winds down after a long day.

It was in Taiwan that Alicia Thew (née Pan) found her love for yoga. The singer-songwriter was pursuing her singing career over a decade ago when her friends encouraged her to take up yoga, and she hasn’t looked back since. Today, she’s back in Singapore and the proud owner of Yoga Movement, with six studios all over the island.

We chat with Alicia at one of Yoga Movement’s studios as she tells us how she got into yoga, her fitness regime and how she winds down after a long day.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am 36 (and proud of my age), a mother of two beautiful boys—and two furry ones!—a singer-songwriter and a business owner.

How did you get into yoga and what led you to start Yoga Movement?

I tried my first yoga class while I was in Taiwan pursuing my music career there over a decade ago. A couple of my close friends were yoga teachers at that time and tried talking me into trying it out. It took a while before I was finally open to the idea, and even longer to finally get into it, but once I noticed how much it benefited me physically, I was hooked! A couple of years after that, I decided to train to teach yoga.

After I moved back to Singapore, I was working as a full-time performer and yoga teacher when I met my now-husband and business partner. He was the brand manager of a global surf brand, so we put our thinking caps together to create something that we felt was lacking in the Singapore market—a yoga-lifestyle brand based on the physical movements of yoga and was accessible to everybody. In 2012, Yoga Movement was born, and what started as a standalone brick and mortar concept is now six fully fitted-out lifestyle concepts, a 100% company-owned app, online classes, as well as a dedicated team of over 100 staff.    

How do you balance Yoga Movement, family and life? What is a typical day like for you?

Eight years in, we now have a great team running the show at Yoga Movement. I’ve mostly stepped out of a managerial role and just teach occasionally in the studio. In that aspect, I am able to work on my own schedule, to find the right balance in my life.

My kids are my priority, especially at this age where they are pretty much sponges and absorb everything you teach them. I schedule most of my work/personal things in the first half of the day when my older son is in pre-school and the younger one naps. By afternoon, I try to give them my full attention.

I’ve got the days of my weeks pretty much on a routine. My days usually consist of getting up early for breakfast (and to get the kids ready for the day), drop off at school, a little bit of office/studio time, a workout, pick up from school, and then spending the rest of the afternoon keeping the kids occupied with activities. In the evenings, it’s dinner with the family, putting the kids to bed and then spending quality time with Pete before bedtime. 

What is the most important piece of advice you have ever received to date?

Be a good person—it can really affect you and your outlook on things positively. 

Did you struggle with your body image during pregnancy or after childbirth?

To be quite honest, I enjoyed every minute of both my pregnancies (although the second had a lot more aching and discomfort). It wasn’t easy for us to get pregnant, so it was a really magical journey for me personally. I had accepted well before I got pregnant that my body will change, and it was a choice I made, so there was no struggle at all. 

Did your fitness regime change from your pre-pregnancy days to during your pregnancy?

Apart from modifying my high-intensity workouts like boxing and HIIT exercises to more low-intensity options (like no jumping and slower reps with heavier weights), I pretty much kept to my normal workout routines. I think that was one of the main reasons I recovered quite quickly after both pregnancies. 

What’s your approach when it comes to beauty and wellness? 

I believe in doing things that make you feel good both physically and mentally—and if that means having a beer after a workout, why not!

“As long as you keep everything in moderation and your lifestyle balanced, being happy with yourself is the key to feeling confident and beautiful.”

How do you look after your skin?

I don’t really put a lot of effort into looking after my skin per se. When I mentioned above that I do things that make me feel good, I believe that exercise and feeling happy contributes to skincare in general. Exercise and hydration are so important to get your blood flowing, and for the regeneration of skin cells. I don’t use a lot of beauty products—I use water to wash my face followed by a hydrating facial moisturiser. When heading out, I mainly use bronzer on my face, mascara and a little bit of lip gloss. 

Do you have a wellness routine to wind down after a long day?

I try to go to bed as early as I can, after putting my kids to bed for the night. Every mother will know that once you have kids, sleep means nothing. It doesn’t get better, you just get better at managing the sleep deprivation throughout your day.

While I don’t do this every single day, I like making sure I indulge in some aromatherapy, eye-mask and a guided meditation for 20-30 minutes every once in a while when I feel overwhelmed with my day.

Alicia’s Beauty Picks

ést.lab Sunshield SPF 50, SGD98
La Mer Crème de la Mer, SGD150
L’Oreal Hydrafresh Genius Multi-Essence Cream, SGD25.90
Orcé Come Closer Skin Perfecting Foundation, USD89

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